Here’s how yesterday went once the Ranger game started. I began by watching the game on the TV that was attached to the elliptical machine I was using at the gym. I was able to get through the first couple of innings doing that. I then switched to MLB radio using the MLB App on my phone. I picked up my wife and daughter at church and then we drove home listening through the phone app. When they got in the truck the score was 0-0. As we are driving we hear Eric Nadel make the call as Yu Darvish misses Elvis Andrus at 2nd base on what would have been an inning ending double-play in the top of the 3rd inning. As I’m pulling up to a gas station, we hear Ian Kinsler make an errant throw that results in two runs scoring and the Angels go up 2-0. I get out to pump the gas. My truck was almost empty and holds 30 gallons. When I get back into the truck the Angels are leading 6-0 thanks to a 2-run homerun from Albert Pujols and a 2-run double from Alberto Callaspo. At that point my daughter tells me from the back seat that I am “grumpy.” She then asked that we play some of her songs that she likes on a CD. So, with the Rangers down 6-0 in the 3rd, I looked at my wife and said, “Well looks like they blew it again” and turned on the CD player.
We get home and go inside and I flip on the TV. It’s already on the Ranger broadcast, and its is then that I discover the Rangers have scored 5 runs and now trail only 7-5. So, I leave the game on in the background, while I do some work on the laptop. I’m not expecting much the rest of the game, but who knows.
The 6th and 7th inning go by with nothing of note. Then in the 8th the Rangers score again on a single from David Murphy. Mike Napoli then strikes out to end the inning, but the Rangers are only down by 1 going into the 9th.
In the top of the inning the Angels manage to get runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Maicer Izturis loops one to right field for a base hit and they send the runner from second around to score. It’s going to be a close play. I look up from the laptop and my wife is sitting up a little straighter too. Cruz fires from right field, but it’s off line. Morales starts to slide, Napoli catches it, dives to his left just in time to tag Morales who slid short and tried to pop up at the last moment. Umpire signals “out” as Morales sticks his hands up in the air thinking he’s scored. Rangers out of the inning and still down by just 1 run. Big sigh of relief from both of us.
Bottom of the 9th. I’m paying attention now. Mitch Moreland flies out, and Ian Kinsler steps up to the plate. I immediately start thinking about Kinsler’s error in the 3rd that cost the Rangers 2 runs. I’m also thinking about how he had gotten thrown out stealing 2nd in the 7th when we just needed to get some base runners to start a rally. I text a buddy of mine who I know is watching, “Kinsler better homer or I’m going to find him and poop in the back seat of his car.” On the third pitch Kinsler drove one to left that kept him from having to clean that up.
The game is now tied, and Andrus is up. On the second pitch he doubles down the right-field line giving Josh Hamilton a chance to make up for a lot of disappointment lately by driving in the winning run. Josh can’t handle the pressure though and breaks his bat popping up right behind the shortstop. That leaves a man on second and two outs for Adrian Beltre who immediately pops out to 3rd.
During the commercials I get a text from my buddy. “Angels will score 4 this inning.”
Joe Nathan comes out to pitch the top half of the 10th. Chris Iannetta who only has 2 homeruns all season, works a 9 pitch at-bat and then takes one deep to left giving the Angels back the lead. Nathan then, to my amazement, strikes out Mike Trout, but hits the next batter, Torii Hunter, to put a man on. That brings up Albert Pujols.
Before Pujols even gets a pitch, Mike Scioscia is out of the dugout whining about some guy in left field who is supposedly waving a flashlight around trying to distract the batter. They send an usher down who speaks to the guy and it looks like everything is settled. But before Pujols can step to the plate again, out comes Scioscia to whine some more. Now, he’s complaining that the same guy has a Texas flag that he’s waving and that it is distracting. So, they send an usher down again who escorts the man from his seat, leaving the wife and kid to wonder where Daddy is going.
As all this wraps up, I text my buddy. “Well now you know Pujols is going to homer.”
5 pitches later he sends one between the wall and the seats in left field giving the Angels a 3-run cushion going into the bottom of the 10th.
They didn’t score the 4 inning my friend predicted, but they did get 3 and it doesn’t look promising for the Rangers.
After Peter Bourjos grounds out the Rangers get to bat in the bottom of the inning. The first batter is Nelson Cruz. On the first pitch he sees, Cruz hits the longest homerun I’ve ever seen hit at the ballpark. It went over the visiting team bullpen and landed in the concourse behind it, in left field. Watch the video. He absolutely crushed it. I don’t think Ernesto Frieri ever wants to throw another pitch even close to the plate against Nelson Cruz.
That lowers the deficit to two runs.
Then it just gets awesome.
Michael Young reaches on an error by the shortstop Andrew Romine.
David Murphy (who was 3 for 3) works an 11 pitch at-bat ending in a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd.
Mike Napoli singles to left field to load the bases.
Mitch Moreland singles to right to bring in Young from third. Rangers now down by 1 with bases loaded and no outs.
Ian Kinsler pops out to 2nd. Infield fly rule. Bases loaded 1 out.
THE RANGERS WALK-OFF 11-10!
My wife is dancing in her chair, we’re both doing our best not to wake up the 2-year old who has been asleep since before the 7th inning, and at last, all is right with the Ranger world.
Rangers get back their 4 game lead in the West and go into tonight’s game with a chance to split the series and not lose any ground to the Angels.
It was one of the most nerve-racking games I’ve ever watched. I was up, I was down, I was “done with the Rangers,” I was asking Kinsler for forgiveness for all the awful things I said when he made the error in the 3rd, I was trying to convince myself to name our next child Murphy, and I was cursing Ron Washington for moving Hamilton back to hitting 3rd after he had done well hitting 5th the last two games. And then everything was forgotten with one line drive down the left field line. Now we have hope! It’s a new month, a new team, and a chance to make July look like a blip on the radar of another great season.